PARIS May 16 Toyota Motor Corp has
begun exporting French-made Yaris compact cars to customers in
North America for the first time this month.
Toyota said it planned to export around 25,000 gasoline
versions of the Yaris built at the northern French town of
Onnaing, near Valenciennes, to the United States, Canada and
Puerto Rico annually.
"There are many reasons to preserve production of compact
cars in France but all partners need to work together to
maintain Toyota Motor Manufacturing France's competitive
advantage," Toyota Motor Europe Chief Executive Didier Leroy
said in a statement on Thursday.
The Yaris accounted for nearly 22 percent of Toyota's total
European sales in 2012, with 182,841 vehicles, the Japanese
Production in France for export to North America began on
May 6, it said.
Toyota's plan, unveiled last June, followed decisions by
Japanese rivals Honda Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co
and Mazda Motor Corp to open factories in
Mexico to serve North America and reduce loss-making exports
French carmakers Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen
are trying to cut costs as they struggle with
overcapacity and weak demand for cars in Europe.
Renault aims to cut 7,500 posts in France by 2016 and has
negotiated a nationwide deal on pay and conditions to boost
competitiveness, while PSA is scrapping more than 10,000
domestic jobs and closing an assembly plant near Paris.